Harsh penalties for distracted driving have helped reduce the number of rear-end crashes in Kansas City, but thousands still occur every year. If you were injured or a family member killed in a rear-end collision, you may be able to obtain compensation.
Call our rear-end accident lawyers in Kansas City to discuss your legal options and get started on a strong case. Langdon & Emison is available for immediate counsel; call (816) 793-8867 now.
Rear-End Accident Statistics
This year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s annual fatality report focuses on a highly concerning trend: fewer miles were traveled in 2020, but more people died in accidents.
The trend spread across the country throughout the pandemic, thanks in no small part to speeding and distracted driving. Experts claim these dangerous behaviors were the main cause of most fatal collisions.
Unfortunately, Kansas City shared a large part of those fatalities. Data released by the Kansas City Police Department (KCPD) emphasizes the distressing trend felt across the country: city-wide crash statistics increased from 5,137 wrecks in 2020 to 5,778 in 2021. April 2021 saw 1,552 wrecks while there were just 893 in April 2020.
The KCPD traffic report even includes a list of the most dangerous, high-crash locations for the second quarter of 2021. Ten locations are included in the report, eight of which include rear-end/inattention as the leading cause:
- I-435 & Holmes Rd. (113 tickets issued at this location in April 2021)
- I-70 & I-435 (409 tickets issued at this location in April 2021)
- 75th St. & Bruce Watkins Dr. (84 tickets issued at this location in April 2021)
- Bannister Rd. & I-435 (204 tickets issued at this location in April 2021)
- I-470 & Blue Ridge Blvd. (117 tickets issued at this location in April 2021)
- 55th St. & Bruce Watkins Dr. (140 tickets issued at this location in April 2021)
- Front St. & I-435 (104 tickets issued at this location in April 2021)
- Front St. & I-35 (174 tickets issued at this location in April 2021)
- Red Bridge Rd. & 71 Hwy (24 tickets issued at this location in April 2021)
- I-435 & Wornall Rd. (102 tickets issued at this location in April 2021).
Most of the tickets issued by Kansas City police officers were for following too closely, texting and driving, and other precursors to rear-end collisions. If you were injured or a loved one killed in a rear-end accident, you can use the police officer’s report to prove that the other driver acted negligently and caused the accident that led to your injuries.
Call our rear-end accident lawyer in Kansas City for more information.
Causes of Rear-End Accidents
Even when they seem completely random, rear-end accidents always have a cause. Many rear-end accidents are caused by someone else’s negligence, such as texting and driving and failing to notice cars stopping ahead.
Here are some of the most common causes of rear-end accidents.
Drivers prone to road rage, beware. If you’re following someone too closely and hit them from behind, you’ll be liable if a crash ensues. Following too closely means there is less space and time for a driver to slow down or stop, increasing the chances that they’ll collide with the vehicle in front of them.
You see them on billboards, TV ads, and countless other places – messages like “Texting and driving kills” and “Eyes on the road, not on your phone.”
You might see these messages and think they don’t apply to you, but the reality is that thousands of Americans die in texting-related rear-end crashes every year. Taking your attention off the road for even one second vastly increases your chances of causing an accident.
Everyone speeds at some point, but it’s a dangerous habit that claims thousands of lives and injures thousands more each year. Speeding often causes more serious rear-end collisions because the person in the back doesn’t have enough time to slow down or stop, creating greater force.
Determining Liability in a Rear-End Accident
In the legal world, “liability” refers to a person’s responsibility for their actions. If a person breaks or ignores a law, and in so doing causes another person’s injury, they can be held liable, or responsible for the injured person’s expenses related to the accident.
Medical bills, property damage, and pain and suffering are all types of damages that an injured person can recover from the negligent party’s insurance provider.
But first, they must prove that the other party was negligent and is therefore liable.
Here’s what your attorney must prove in establishing the other person’s negligence:
- Duty – First, your lawyer must demonstrate that the other driver owed you reasonable care, or “duty” to be reasonably safe on the road. This is usually one of the more simple steps, as all drivers must follow the rules of the road and operate their vehicles with care in regard to other drivers.
- Breach of Duty – Once duty is established, your attorney will show that the other driver broke that duty, potentially endangering yourself and others on the road. A “breach” can be either action or inaction on the part of the offender.
- Causation – After your attorney establishes duty and breach of duty, they’ll move on to causation. This is where your rear-end accident lawyer will show that the other party’s breach of duty directly caused your injury or property damage. You can’t claim compensation for an injury that occurred before the accident.
- Damages – Lastly, you and your rear-end accident lawyer in Kansas City will prove that you suffered damages, or actual losses. These are almost like pieces of evidence of the accident itself. Physical injury, property damage, and loss of income are types of damages you may be able to claim.
For example, Driver A is texting and driving. Driver B is in front of them and slows down to avoid hitting a pothole, but Driver A doesn’t notice and slams into the back of Driver B’s car. In this case, the breach of duty is the inaction of Driver B, who should have been alert and attentive to their surroundings.
Additionally, you’ll have to prove that the crash was “reasonably foreseeable,” meaning that the other driver had the ability to see and judge their surroundings, but for whatever reason, they did not do so appropriately.
Liability is usually easy to determine in rear-end accidents. The driver who rear-ends another is almost always going to be found negligent, and therefore at fault for the collision.
However, life isn’t always so simple. There are a few circumstances in which the driver in front can be held liable for the rear-end crash.
Fault Isn’t Always Obvious
Here are a few circumstances where the lead driver could be at fault in a rear-end collision:
- Another car merges into your lane in front of you but fails to drive at the appropriate speed, again leaving you without room to stop.
- You’re driving at a reasonable speed and are cut off unexpectedly by a driver entering the road from a side street, leaving you without room to stop.
- The car in front of you at a red light or stop sign accidentally puts their car in reverse, accelerates, and hits you.
- You have been the victim of a “swoop and squat” con. These hoaxes involve two vehicles whose passengers stage a rear-end accident in order to collect your insurance money.
Whatever situation you’re in – whether you hit someone or they hit you – don’t assume you’re out of legal options. After being in a rear-end accident, the worst thing you can do is sit back and not take any action.
You need an experienced rear-end accident lawyer in Kansas City who can help you recover and obtain compensation for your injuries and property damage.
A nationally-recognized personal injury firm, Langdon & Emison has decades of experience helping injured clients get the compensation they need. Call us at (866) 931-2115 for more information.
Comparative Negligence in Missouri
Different states follow different laws in determining which parties are at fault in an accident and allocating damages accordingly. Missouri follows the system of pure comparative negligence, which allows a victim to recover damages even if they are mostly at fault for their accident.
Let’s look at an example: Driver A is drunk, but they get in their car anyway. They drive behind Driver B for a while who has a burnt-out taillight. When Driver B turns, Driver A crashes into them. Driver A argues that they should not be entirely responsible for the crash since Driver B had a malfunctioning taillight. The jury finds Driver A to be 90% at fault for the accident, leaving Driver B with 10% fault. If the recovery amount is set to $100,000, Driver B would walk away with $90,000 instead of the full amount.
Even if you were partially at fault for your accident, you shouldn’t sacrifice your right to compensation. Call experienced injury firm Langdon & Emison for help obtaining maximum compensation in your case.
Common Injuries in Rear-End Accidents
Even at low speeds, passengers can suffer serious or debilitating injuries, including brain and spine damage. Due to the forces at play in these accidents, injuries can be even more severe if the victim’s vehicle was stopped at a light when the collision occurred.
The following are some of the most common injuries in rear-end accidents.
Whiplash is the most common injury resulting from rear-end accidents, but symptoms and prognoses vary greatly from person to person. The amount of time it takes for symptoms to appear also varies between patients, although the Mayo Clinic states that symptoms of whiplash usually show up within a few days of the accident.
Symptoms include neck pain and stiffness, loss of range of motion in the neck, headaches, tingling or numbness in the arms, dizziness, and fatigue.
Back injuries are also common in rear-end accidents. Similar to whiplash, they vary in severity depending on the location of the injury, the age of the victim, and the speed at which they were traveling when the collision occurred.
Strains, sprains, and slipped or herniated discs are a few of the most common rear-end accident-related back injuries. If nerves are pinched or rupture, extreme pain and even disability may result.
Many people with car accident-related back injuries are unable to work for months or even years, and some are left unable to care for themselves.
Head and Brain Injuries
Due to the forceful, jolting movements in a rear-end crash, a person’s brain can slam against their skull, or their head may be thrown forward where it smashes into the dashboard or steering wheel. If enough force is present in the collision, that person may suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) due to the violent back-and-forth motion.
Traumatic brain injuries are serious and can cause lasting damage to the brain. Some of the more serious complications include memory loss, personality and mood changes, or even death. Mild symptoms include confusion and disorientation, dizziness, headache, blurred vision, or a brief period of unconsciousness.
Moderate symptoms include prolonged cognitive impairments, nausea, vomiting, and vision impairment, while symptoms of a severe brain injury include seizures, fluid leaking from the nose or ears, and unequal pupil dilation.
Many victims of TBI find it difficult to return to normal life. If you or a loved one suffered a TBI in a car crash, you must not delay in seeking compensation for injuries and medical bills. TBIs can develop quickly, and it’s important to receive treatment as soon as possible. Call our rear-end accident lawyers in Kansas City today.